It could be Ayurveda Medicine

Nepal can reap benefits from trade in services by developing niche products in health, education, information technology (IT) and tourism sectors, which have competitive edge, stakeholders said on Friday.

Speaking at an interaction organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) in Kathmandu on Friday, Hemanta Dawadi, director general of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said the government should promote niche products in health, education, IT,  as well as tourism to boost trade in services. “It could be Ayurveda in health or medical and engineering studies in the education sector”.

The main thing is we should have able to develop service products having competitive advantage, Dawadi said, adding “existing Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) includes service sectors like health, education and IT, among others. We should first select a particular sector, develop attractive products and promote it”.

MoCS organized the interaction with other ministries and private sector representatives to take their inputs for NTIS review. NTIS, which was prepared in 2010, has incorporated tourism, labor services, IT,  and business process outsourcing services, health, education, engineering services and hydroelectricity as the service sectors having competitive edge. MoCS is in the process of reviewing the document to make it more result-oriented.

Developed countries have announced duty waiver for service trade of least developed countries (LDC”), Toya Narayan Gyawali, joint secretary of MoCS said, adding “Our products now have easy access to developed countries.”

Representatives of different ministries like education, health, energy, tourism, physical infrastructure and transportation have made intensive discussions with MoCS for aligning their programs with the national trade strategy.

Speaking at the program, Gyawali said more than 40 percent of foreign direct investment in the country has gone into the service sector.

Trade in services account for over 70 percent of the world´s gross domestic product (GDP) and 45 percent of the world´s employment.

Duty waiver for service trade of LDCs was decided by 8th World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference to increase participation of Least Developed Countries trade in services, Gyawali said, adding “And the ninth ministerial conference held in Bali of Indonesia took decision on operation realization of the waiver.”

He also has underlined the need to forger cooperation between public and private sector for building environment conducive to bring new investments in particular sectors and sub-sectors identified by NTIS.

Likewise, Dr Kaladevi Bhandari, director general of the Department of Ayurveda under Ministry of Health, said NTIS should give emphasis to Ayurveda which holds competitive advantage compared to other sectors.

Similarly, Suresh Pradhan, President of the Federation of Nepalese Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI), said the government was not working with the spirit of linking small and cottage industries on value chain process which can be more effective for poverty alleviation.

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is supporting the government in NTIS implementation through Tier 1 and Tier 2 support. Tier 1 support is for institutional capacity enhancement of executing agencies, while the Tier 2 is for product development.

Nepal has already received Tier 2 support for promotion of ginger, pashmina, and medicinal herbs and aromatic plants.

According to official, the NTIS document will be reviewed before the first half of 2014/15 ends.

- Compliments of Republica